So, today I think I am just going to post some pictures and give them captions. Next week we are moving something like 3,000 people. So, I will have some interesting stories then I am sure.
These are a sampling of the houses we are building for people. We take the size of the homes they were living in, and round up to the nearest sized house. The roofs collect water and store them in those black containers you see. The locals used to spend 30minutes to fetch water, and these cut down that time considerably.
This is where our local subcontractor makes bricks for the homes we’re building. They’re made of pressed clay, and then the outside is plastered with a layer of concrete. We are a few months behind schedule because our first set of homes was damaged in a storm. So, we replaced them all with better quality materials. This ‘factory’ employees about 500 people, and are considered in our indirect employment numbers. When we are done building houses, many will find work in the mine.
All of the public meetings I have been to have taken place in the local churches. We start and end the meetings with prayer, and most of the population is catholic. As some of you might know, I was very involved with mission work growing up, and I have a profound respect for churches that spend most of their funds on helping the local community. Below is an example of a church I have been in, and it is one of the nicer ones, but I bet it didn’t cost much at all because it was built by the community. 4
This is a school that is pretty standard for the area, if not on the nicer side. I haven’t been inside the ones we are building/have built, but they should be a bit of an upgrade. The pupil to faculty ratio is very high, but I forgot how much, I am guessing 50-1. Interesting fact, most of the students in primary school are female, but by the time they make it to secondary school most of the students are male.
This last picture is one I have been desperately trying to get since I got here. I knew people in third world countries carry stuff on their head so they don’t tire their arms, but it is unbelievable what people can balance on their heads. I’ve seen people balance bundles of wood/bamboo etc. over 12-14ft long, gas canisters full of petrol, and just random stuff all perfectly balanced. The girls below didn’t know what I was doing when I asked if I could take a picture, but thankfully they said yes and I got a picture of what is likely 50lbs of seed on her head, and this is AVERAGE!
Well, this took forever to do, so I hope it has provided you all with some good reading. This place is fascinating, and the company has really been great to me. I am taken to a new place every day, and they have been very patient with my learning French. It’s still strange being the only American, and only person under 30 or so, but I’m getting used to it.
Au revoir mon amis!